Nana Patekar on Saturday denied he harassed actor Tanushree Dutta on the sets of their 2008 film, Horn OK Pleasss, terming her claims a ‘lie’. Tanushree had alleged in recent interviews that Nana Patekar, a Padma Shri and National Award-winning actor, had behaved inappropriately towards her during the shooting of a song for 2008’s Horn OK Pleassss.
Patekar, who was shooting for upcoming film Housefull 4 in Jodhpur, returned to Mumbai on Saturday. “I said this ten years ago… a lie is a lie (Dus saal pehle bol chuka hoon, ab jo jhoot hai woh jhoot hai’),” Patekar told PTI at the Mumbai airport. The actor was surrounded by officials as he exited the airport. At the Jodhpur airport, when reporters asked Patekar about the allegations and maintaining silence over it, he chose not to answer any query. When asked about addressing the media in detail, Patekar said, “It will happen”. The 67-year-old actor is likely to hold a press conference on October 8. Patekar’s lawyer has sent a legal notice to Tanushree.
Talking about the incident a decade ago, Tanushree had said in a series of interviews, “He misbehaved on the sets. He was being aggressive and was pushing me around. I complained about him, but it was not heard. They (film crew) were forcing me to do an intimate step. My contract stated that it was a solo dance sequence, and it was not supposed to be a duet. It was a way to manipulate me. This was the whole harassment situation going on.”
The actor that her family was also attacked when she refused to do the dance step. “It was horrific. They made sure that we didn’t escape the studio as they locked the gates. Ganesh Acharya was the one who pressurised me to perform an intimate step. Everybody was involved including Amit Siddiqui and Rakesh Sarangi. All of them are good friends,” Tanushree claimed.
In an earlier conversation with Mirror Now, Nana had said, “What can I do about it? You tell me.” He sent a legal notice to the actress this week.
The film’s choreographer, Ganesh Acharya, has spoken up in defence of Patekar. “He’s a very sweet person, he can never do that. He is very helpful and he has actually helped a lot of artistes in the industry, he can never do anything like that.” He also added that he doesn’t remember what happened that day as the incident is from 10 years ago.
Meanwhile, stars such as Farhan Akhtar, Priyanka Chopra, Anushka Sharma, Deepika Padukone and Aamir Khan have weighed in on the controversy.
The #MeToo movement began with allegations of sexual harassment and rape against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein and triggered a global movement. It eventually led to structural changes in Hollywood and the launch of the Time’s Up campaign. Indian actors such as Radhika Apte, Richa Chadda, Swara Bhasker and Konkona SenSharma have spoken about it earlier, without revealing names.